Paddlers tout benefit of Mahoning River

GIRARD, Ohio (WKBN) – The third time is a charm for an inaugural paddle down the Mahoning River. Enthusiasts set out on a six-mile ourney Sunday from Girard to downtown Youngstown.

The paddlers want to bring attention to the river and show what a great resource it is.

Getting a kayak and canoe into the river in Girard isn’t easy, especially when there’s mud everywhere. Paddler Don Rex said this is the first time there has been a launch to the river in Girard.

“Hopefully, if we get the ODNR grant this will be developed into a very nice launch area,” Rex said.

Mahoning River Paddlers and Friends of the Mahoning see more than water when they look at the river. They see a recreation site that will draw families and be a destination for Girard.

“I have done from Niles to Girard, and it is like you are not in the city any more, it is like you are in the wilderness,” said Rex.

Sunday, seven people did the first group paddle from Girard to downtown Youngstown. The six-miletrip took less than two hours. For Steve Bartel of Wooster, it was a combined history and science lesson.

“Still a lot of nature, a lot of birds and things we saw. You can still come across and see some industry,” said Bartel. “We saw them dumping some slag, so you are getting the best of both worlds.”

The trip ended at the B and O Station where there’s a refurbished dock making it much easier to get out of a kayak. Ed Hahn, with the Mahoning River Paddlers, said the group would like more access points.

“I would like to see the state and cities start getting involved a little bit more so we can get more people from outside of Youngstown to come have fun with us here,” Hahn said.

Weather canceled the paddle two times this summer, but the rain stopped Sunday just in time for the group to get on the river.

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